Canada: From place to placemat

As a young child, I took great pleasure in mushing oatmeal on Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings, spilling juice over Niagara Falls and smearing strawberry jam across Prairie wheat fields. The plastic-covered placemats of quintessential Canadian scenes that my mother spread across our kitchen table in our 1960s suburban rancher in Nanaimo, B.C. were meant to speedContinue reading “Canada: From place to placemat”

50 Ways to Freeze Your Lover

In winter, Quebec City looks impossibly romantic. Snowdrifts cover the city’s centuries-old walls. Lovers walk hand-in-mittened hand down cobblestone streets. It’s all so dreamy and seductive and, well, hot. But, if your idea of a romantic getaway includes getting active outdoors, you’ll discover a chilly truth. In Quebec City, in winter, there must be 50Continue reading “50 Ways to Freeze Your Lover”

Marilyn Monroe in Whistler Blackcomb: skiing, zipping, indulging

My husband wants me to be Marilyn Monroe. No, not for the obvious reason — I’m already blonde and, well, sort of voluptuous. It’s the attitude he’s after. “Ever notice that ‘what the hell’ is always the right decision?” the legendary Monroe is quoted as once saying. And so my husband Kent hopes I’ll copContinue reading “Marilyn Monroe in Whistler Blackcomb: skiing, zipping, indulging”

Train tripping across Canada with teens

Although no one suggests my plan to take the train across Canada with my family is “an act of insane recklessness” (that’s what a politician said in 1871 when he heard that Canada was going to build a railway across the immense and largely empty country), some friends are clearly flummoxed. Even when I extolContinue reading “Train tripping across Canada with teens”

Girls gone soft on Maui spa getaway

Cowhide surfboards. Bathtubs brimming with something akin to lime Jell-o. A waiter who acknowledges every request with a throaty “my pleasure” suggesting something even naughtier than the dessert menu. Maui certainly serves up surprises on a girls’ getaway. When my L.A.-based sister Robyn and I decide to abandon our men folk and kids and enjoyContinue reading “Girls gone soft on Maui spa getaway”

Wannabe cowgirl at the Calgary Stampede

That a 900-kilogram black bull is snorting and stomping in the rodeo chute beside where I stand doesn’t scare me. Even when it starts slamming against the chute rails and tossing its head in a vain attempt to sink a horn into the cowboy straddling the top rails, I’m frightened only a little. No, whatContinue reading “Wannabe cowgirl at the Calgary Stampede”